Nematic quantum fluids with wave functions that break the underlying crystalline symmetry can form in interacting electronic systems. We examined the quantum Hall states that arise in high magnetic fields from anisotropic hole pockets on the Bi(111) surface. Spectroscopy performed with a scanning tunneling microscope showed that a combination of single-particle effects and many-body Coulomb interactions lift the six-fold Landau level (LL) degeneracy to form three valley-polarized quantum Hall states. We imaged the resulting anisotropic LL wave functions and found that they have a different orientation for each broken-symmetry state. The wave functions correspond to those expected from pairs of hole valleys and provide a direct spatial signature of a nematic electronic phase.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - Oct 21 2016|
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